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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: Can the expensive Chris Morris turn the tide for Rajasthan Royals?

With record-breaking signings, Rajasthan is setting the course to rekindle the 2008 triumph.

IPL 2021: Can the expensive Chris Morris turn the tide for Rajasthan Royals?

Barring the odd spark, Rajasthan Royals had a rather forgettable IPL in the UAE in 2020 (Source: ESPNcricinfo)


Rashi Bhattacharyya

Updated: 9 Aug 2022 7:06 AM GMT

Despite winning the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, Rajasthan Royals have hardly shown any champion-like qualities in the subsequent editions.

Last year, the franchise was in contention to make the playoff cut but failed to capitalize and ended up last on the points table after a dramatic late slump.

To shake things up this season, Rajasthan released their captain Steve Smith and thereafter, several other prominent names.
Then they went on to create history by acquiring all-rounder Chris Morris for a massive INR. 16.25 crores, which made him the most expensive player in IPL history.
Along with a couple of more 'above 1 crore' signings and domestic investments, Rajasthan Royals have managed to build what appears to be a rather comprehensive squad.

Here is a SWOT analysis of Rajasthan Royal's team for IPL 2021.

The strengths of Rajasthan Royals

Ample options for a match-winning batting line-up

Starting with their batting line-up, Rajasthan Royals have excellent overseas batsmen and all-rounders, who can play big innings for the team.
From the ever-reliable Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes to big-hitters like David Miller and Liam Livingstone, RR has quality run-getters in the squad.
Even Morris has proven bit hitting abilities towards the fag end of an inning.
The Indians in the batting department are no less than their foreign counterparts.
Captain Sanju Samson was the leading run-scorer of the team last season with 375 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 158.89.
Rahul Tewatia was phenomenal with both bat and ball in 2020.
Who can forget his epic 53 off 31 during RR's memorable victory over KXIP, which included his 5 sixes against Sheldon Cottrell in the 18th over?

The all-rounder top-scored with 161 runs in five innings, striking at 138.79.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Riyan Parag also have the potential to step up for the team.

Their success rate against Mumbai Indians in recent times

As IPL's most successful team, Mumbai Indians have a great track record against every team.
But since 2018, Rajasthan Royals have managed to overhaul them five times while losing just once, which is a better success rate than any other franchise.
While one of the major factors behind this success was Jofra Archer, the Englishman is set to miss at least the first half of IPL 2021. And that is where Morris will be expected to take up the mantle and turn in match-winning performances.

The weaknesses of Rajasthan Royals

A fragile bowling attack

IPL 2020's MVP Jofra Archer was RR's leading wicket-taker and one of the few good things in a rather disappointing Rajasthan campaign.
Although Morris will definitely spearhead RR's pace attack in the absence of Archer, the South African has been quite injury-prone in the last couple of years.
Hopefully, he will break that unlucky streak and strengthen the team's pace division with the support of options like Mustafizur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, and RR's latest domestic investment Chetan Sakariya.

The opportunities for Rajasthan Royals

Improving their death-bowling

Rajasthan Royals' economy rate during the death overs is not great as Archer never had a partner during this crucial period.
This time, with Morris, Rajasthan has the chance to improve their death-bowling performances.
Despite his questionable form, Andrew Tye - the Purple Cap winner of IPL 2018- is a death-over specialist and can assist Morris in absence of Archer.

The rise of the Indian brigade

Rajasthan Royals have a long list of Indian players, both capped and uncapped, who are waiting in the wings. If positioned right, this lot can propel the side.
If Sanju Samson manages to perform well with the bat while leading the squad, he might rebuild his path back to the Indian teamand transform the fortunes of his franchise as well.
The in-form Shivam Dube also has the opportunity to grab international attention after failing to utilize his earlier stints in the IPL.

RR's bowling unit, which is filled with talented domestic bowlers, can benefit from IPL 2021 as well.
While the absence of an international spinner in the team can hurt their chances, Shreyas Gopal fills the void with his IPL experience.
Also, state-mate KC Cariappa and other lesser-known spinners and spinning all-rounders man get chances to step up.
Young pacers like Kartik Tyagi, Chetan Sakariya, and Akash Singh will also have the opportunity to turn in vital contributions through IPL 2021.

The threats that Rajasthan Royals needs to be wary of

Over-reliance on overseas players

The major threat for Rajasthan has always been their over-reliance on their overseas players.
While the last time the focus was on Buttler, Stokes, Smith, and Archer, the team is might just continue the saga with the addition of Morris.
To prevent this problem, they need to put some extra faith in their Indian players and give them ample chances to flourish.

In summary...

A team effort to stride over Individual contributions

All the successes of RR in 2020 were driven by individual efforts rather than a combined team effort.
And this is where Samson and Co. will look to focus on - driving an overall balanced act as a unit.
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